I actually prefer to expose students to paint, oil pastels, etc. -- all the messier media that may be harder for regular classroom teachers to use frequently.
I recently read on a blog that you can soak the insides of used washable markers to make liquid watercolors! Some other bloggers recently shared comments on Mr. E's blog here. Check out the comments -- they are interesting. I have yet to try this, but I am intrigued -- but I digress. Back to using markers in the art room.
I was pretty amazed this year at how many students did not realize that markers could be used to make thin lines when held like this:
and fat lines when held at an angle, like this:
So, when kindergarteners recently worked on a "Bold Line" project, we took the time to give them individual help in experimenting with how to make a "fat" line with one stroke of a marker as opposed to coloring back and forth to make the line.
I think it is a skill worth teaching, as the results were much better and smoother using the tool that way.
I even had one little kinder show me how he was trying to use his permanent Sharpie marker the same way the following week as he colored in windows on a building for his Stuart Davis collage city scene!! Don't you just love it when you see children applying newly learned skills in multiple settings?!!